Western concept of Self

John Burdett’s second novel, Bangkok Tattoo, was as good as his first (Bangkok 8). Both stories are set in (you guessed it) Bangkok, where Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep solves bizarre murders. Sonchai is a devout Buddhist and the plot is laced with Eastern religion. I especially liked this description of the Western concept of Self:

“…a ramshackle collection of coincidences held together by a desperate and irrational clinging, there is no center at all, everything depends on everything else, your body depends on the environment, your thoughts depend on whatever junk floats in from the media, your emotions are largely from the reptilian end of your DNA, your intellect is a chemical computer that can’t add up a zillionth as fast as a pocket calculator, and even your best side is a superficial piece of social programming that will fall apart just as soon as your spouse leaves with the kids and the money in the joint account, or the economy starts to fail and you get the sack, or you get conscripted into some idiot’s war, or they give you the news about your brain tumor.”

Ouch. The wannabe geek in me also enjoyed this password to a CIA online database:

AQ82860136574X-Halifax nineteen [lowercase] Oklahoma twenty-2 BLUE WHALE [all uppercase] Amerika stop 783

Won’t even fit on a Post-It note.

One thought on “Western concept of Self

  1. I never knew that devout Buddhists (even fictional ones) were allowed to make such generalizations. You’d think Buddha would disapprove. After all, to the casual observer, Buddha looks like a fat slob with absolutely no self control. But I wouldn’t want to “generalize”.
    Sounds like Sonchai needs his ass kicked by an American with plenty of emotional “center”.
    I know just the fella. :)

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